Volunteer vacations through the American Hiking Society (AHS) are a great idea for the budget-minded.
Each trip listed on the AHS website provides very detailed information on the project, the labor-intensity (good to know if you are planning to take a child), accommodations, trip dates and spots available.
For example, there is a trip to Oregon that sounds really interesting. Eagle Cap Wilderness, East Fork Lostine River. I would “restore an abandoned trail and all the vegetation with locally harvested plants, build drainage structures to reduce erosion, and block access to encourage visitors to use the existing trail.” The trip is listed as strenuous. Keeps the annoying loafer-types out! Peak elevation is 7,200 feet. Altitude and scenic mountain vistas! Backpack six miles to basecamp. I can use my new Osprey Aura, Vasque Taku GTX’s and Darn Tough Vermont Full Cushion hiking socks! The accommodations are primitive tent sites. Primitive tent sites?! Um…No.
A nice cabin option is the Sunkhaze Meadows NWR, Johnson Brook Trail in Maine. I can hike a dignified, easy-to-moderate two-mile hike to the worksite to “help to improve existing boardwalks in a beautiful white cedar swamp that have been frost heaved.” Because at the end of the day, I gets me a primitive cabin with kitchen and outhouse on the banks of Sunkhaze Stream, with room upstairs for sleeping. That’s more like it!
Personal persnicketyness aside, you can’t beat the price. Or, for that matter, the options. There are fifty-three trips currently listed on the AHS site. Volunteer vacations cost $275 (plus airfare if necessary) and include food, park entrance fees, campsite or cabin use, tools and a one-year membership with American Hiking Society.
See below for the official press release from the AHS or check out their website for more information:
American Hiking Society Offers Budget Friendly Volunteer Adventures
Springs is right around the corner, and if the warmer weather has you yearning for an outdoor adventure, consider a Volunteer Vacation with American Hiking Society. Whether you need a kick-start to organize your next outing, are interested in traveling to a new destination, or are eager to meet others who share your passion for the outdoors, American Hiking Society offers over 50 trail-building vacations across the country allowing you to give back to the places and trails you love!
With a wide range of projects and a variety of accommodations for volunteers, American Hiking’s Volunteer Vacations program offers something for everyone. If you are new to trail work and don’t have a tent, consider the Mt. Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest trip, which offers indoor lodge accommodations in the picturesque Pacific Northwest in July. If you want to experience a rugged, backcountry adventure and sleep under the stars, consider the Sawtooth National Forest trips in Idaho in August. If you are pining for a tropical beach vacation, but still want to give back in the sun, consider the Hawaii Nature Center trip in August or the St. John, Virgin Islands trips in November and December.
“While the trips are ‘working vacations,’ you can expect plenty of down-time for hiking, local attractions, and campfire camaraderie,” notes Gregory Miller, President of American Hiking Society. “No special skills are required to Get Out and Give Back, so whether you are an experienced trail builder or have never held a Pulaski, there is a trip that is right for you!”
Your crew will consist of 6-15 volunteers and you will have the guidance and supervision of an experienced crew leader. Food, park entrance fees, campsite or cabin use, tools and a one-year membership with American Hiking Society are all included in your registration fee of $275, making American Hiking’s Volunteer Vacations an inexpensive way to adventure travel, while doing something good for the trails and your spirit.
To learn more about American Hiking Society and view the 2012 Volunteer Vacation’s trip schedule, visit www.AmericanHiking.org or call (800) 972-8608.
Volunteer Vacationsare made possible by the generous support of our sponsors – REI, Mountain Hardwear, Vasque, Klean Kanteen, and Backpacker’s Pantry, as well as our Federal Public Land Partners – Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.